Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive.
Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As memories of her old life haunt her, she has been forced to forge ahead in the snow-covered Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap to survive.
But her fragile existence is about to be shattered. Shadows of the world before have found her tiny community—most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who sets in motion a chain of events that will force Lynn to fulfill a destiny she never imagined.
Trigger warning: sexual assault
The Wolves of Winter captivated me from the first page. It follows Lynn as she lives deep within the Yukon forest after a nuclear war and sickness has ravaged the planet.
Lynn is quickly presented to be an intelligent, competent, and brave young woman. Lynn’s competence stems from her ability to hunt. She’s patient, savvy, and knowledgeable. I thoroughly enjoyed Lynn as a character. There were so many what ifs surrounding her because of the end of the world. The only irritating thing about Lynn is that she’s almost a cross between Katniss from The Hunger Games and Tris from Divergent. However, Johnson was able to toe the line of sassy and hard without Lynn becoming irritating or a blatant knockoff.
The events of the novel are satisfyingly concluded, but Johnson leaves an opening for the reader to fill in the gaps or for future work. I’m not sure I’d like to see a typical sequel when it comes to this world. Instead, I’d love to read another novel set in this world but from a different perspective in a different location.
Whenever I read post-apocalyptic novels that depict the end of the world or society in some way or another, it never resonates with me. It was always just part of the mythos of the world the author created. However, the end of the world in The Wolves of Winter is scarily relevant. The conflict, the countries, the circumstances, and actions are all based in reality. Unfortunately, it doesn’t read like fiction. But, maybe, that’s how post-apocalyptic novels are going to be moving forward: scarily accurate depictions of the unstable politics that are emerging from around the world. Either way, Johnson hit the nail on the head with his end of the world scenario.
Overall, The Wolves of Winter is a great post-apocalyptic story that is surprisingly complex and rich despite its use of typical tropes.
***I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.